Who is Dark Phoenix?

by The Collected Mutineer

There will never be enough female-led films, in my opinion, but the industry is moving in the right direction. Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and the still-unnamed Black Widow film have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds (and Twitter feeds), but there’s another super-powered woman on the horizon.

Those familiar with the X-Men comics are certainly knowledgeable about Jean Grey and the Dark Phoenix entity. But if you’re a casual movie-goer, there is a lot to cover! Twentieth Century Fox’s new film X-Men: Dark Phoenix, starring Sophie Turner in the titular role, promises to explore this vital arc in an intimate look at the dark side of a hero. But will it deliver? Early film reviews say no, although the footage from WonderCon 2019 had been promising.

A Brief History of the mutant Jean Grey as the entity “the Dark Phoenix”

We’re probably all familiar with Jean Grey as a member of the X-Men, thanks to Famke Janssen’s portrayal of the iconic mutant. But the character’s history in the comics is far more intense, emotional, and varied than what we got in the original X-Men film franchise (and probably what we will get in this new film, too…but that’s neither here nor there). Either way, here’s a quick rundown of the basics you need to know about the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix.


The Phoenix Force

The Phoenix Force an immortal being with incredible power. A child of the universe, the force is feared for its ability to destroy and rebuild any part of said universe. The Phoenix first appeared in 1976 and has bonded with several characters, but is best known for its connection to Jean Grey. The Phoenix was drawn to young Jean and later rescued her in a time of peril—when the force saved Jean’s life, Jean herself became the Phoenix host.


Phoenix Force Powers

Dark Phoenix was ranked as the 9th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time by IGN back in 2009, so it stands to reason that this entity has incredible powers—particularly when bonded to Jean Grey, who is already an incredibly powerful Omega-level mutant. The Phoenix Force can do everything and anything from absorbing and manipulating energy to moving through time/space to reading minds and moving objects. Even after nearly 45 years of being part of the X-Men franchise, the Phoenix’s full range of powers has not yet been defined and could be further expanded upon in the new film.


Corruption into the Dark Phoenix

In one arc, the Phoenix in Jean’s host body was manipulated and controlled by Mastermind—though she was later able to break free, the damage had already been done and the rise of the Dark Phoenix came to pass. Jean turns into an enemy of the X-Men and devours star system energies to satiate the Dark Phoenix’s hunger. In the original storyline, Jean is driven insane from the corruption of power. In later years and subsequent arcs, Jean has a duplicate body which allows both characters to exist at once (sometimes with a shared consciousness). Jean Grey eventually regains control of herself and her own body, but part of the Phoenix Force’s power is left behind further enhancing Jean’s abilities.

Dark Phoenix hits theaters tomorrow, June 7. Let us know your thoughts about the final X-Men film from 20th Century Fox!